Saturday, May 12, 2012


I was working in my yard this morning and early afternoon. My backyard is covered by an umbrella of tall oak trees and two smaller, lovely Japanese Maples who thrive in the shadows. Well, that's the way it has been. After Hurricane Irene, my smaller trees (the two Japanese Maples) were flattened by the massive falling limbs from the larger oak trees. The larger one came back to life and is absolutely amazing. It probably needs to be "trained" to stand up a little straighter, but other than that, it is thriving. The other Japanese maple also seemed to come to life. But it seemed to have some problems with its buds turning in to leaves.

I had a "tree guy" here a week or so ago to give me a price to remove the broken and damaged limbs from the larger trees (as many of these limbs are still sitting and waiting to come crashing down on me or my house, or both --- whenever it's windy, I stay out of the back yard). I showed Mr. Tree the small Japanese Maple, and he snipped off some of the nascent buds, and told me that the "trauma" of the hurricane had probably stunted it's growth process for this year, but the tree was still alive.

I'm a huge fan of pruning trees, bushes, what have you. My goal for the day was to prune a trio of gangly lilac trees/bushes that barely bloomed this spring. And some other miscellaneous shrubs that were in serious need of a hair cut. I spent some time looking at the sad Japanese Maple. I cut a few pieces off, looked at the buds, and it appeared to me that there was no life inside. Nothing green. Just that off-white center that ultimately becomes breakable. Was this a sign that this tree might be dead or dying? I just don't know right now. So, for the rest of the morning, I went into mourning mode for this once healthy young tree. I definitely plan to give it more time. I am not going to give up on it so fast. But still, I felt my tree was gone.

As I was loading my brown paper bags with miscellaneous and sundry clippings from my pruning-fest, I noticed a monarch butterfly alight upon my sad tree. I didn't get too close. But the butterfly was not at all started by the crackling of the bags or me packing them tight. He just sat on the tree. Was the butterfly aware that the tree may be dead? Or did my minor clipping open up some tree nector for this butterfly that I did not see.

I am hoping the arrival of this butterfly was a signal that my struggling tree will survive.


  1. great time to prune lilac. They will bloom next year on this years growth. Never prune lilac in the fall. The maple could come back. Add some fertilizer. Give the butterfly a beer. All is good.

    1. I decided I am going to cut the maple back as far as it will go ... i.e., anything dead will go ... but I won't take it down. There may be life still deep inside. And yes, fertilizer. Need to check that out.

      You wouldn't know when Rose of Sharon's need to be pruned, would you? I have no blooms this year. Maybe it's because I didn't remove last year's blooms?

    2. Also, I deleted your other comment because it was a duplicate for some reason ...

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